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legal blogs

Marc Randazza

by Walter Olson on March 16, 2012

Marc Randazza is a prominent First Amendment lawyer who has been a friend to this site and many others. Popehat, Eric Turkewitz, Amy Alkon and back-in-commission Scott Greenfield are all posting well-merited appreciations.

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March 6 roundup

by Walter Olson on March 6, 2012

  • D.C. Circuit’s Janice Rogers Brown: three-decade-long case over Iran dairy expropriation raises “harshest caricature of the American litigation system” [BLT]
  • Legal blogger Mark Bennett runs for Texas Court of Criminal Appeals as Libertarian [Defending People, Scott Greenfield] And Prof. Bill Childs, often linked in this space, is departing TortsProf (and legal academia) to join a private law practice in Texas;
  • Ambitious damage claims, more modest settlements abound in Louisiana oil-rig cleanup suits [ATLA's Judicial Hellholes, more, more, earlier]
  • Better no family at all: Lawprof Banzhaf jubilant over courts’ denial of adoption to smokers [his press release]
  • “The worst discovery request I’ve ever gotten” [Patrick at Popehat] And yours?
  • Concession to reality? Class action against theater over high cost of movie snacks seen as dud [Detroit Free Press]
  • FCPA is for pikers, K Street shows how real corruption gets done [Bill Frezza, Forbes] Dems threatening tax-bill retribution against clients whose lobbyists who back GOP candidates [Politico]

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February 27 roundup

by Walter Olson on February 27, 2012

  • Department of Transportation cracks down on distraction from cars’ onboard information and entertainment systems; Mike Masnick suspects the measure won’t work as intended, as appears to have been the case with early texting bans [Techdirt; earlier here, etc.] “Feds Push New York Toward Full Ban On Electronic Devices In Cars” [Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit; Truth About Cars]
  • Oh no: Scott Greenfield says he’s ceasing to post at his exemplary criminal defense blog after five years [Simple Justice, Dave Hoffman]
  • California not entitled to pursue its own foreign policy, at least when in conflict with rest of nation’s: unanimous “blockbuster” decision by en banc 9th Circuit strikes down law enabling insurance suits by Armenian victims [AP, Alford/OJ, Recorder, related, Frank/PoL]
  • Playboy model’s $1.2M award against Gotham cops is a great day for the tabloids [NYDN]
  • To hear a pitch for fracking-royalty suits, visit the American Association for Justice convention, or just read the New York Times [Wood, PoL]
  • What the mortgage settlement did [John Cochrane, earlier]
  • Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978 blows up an adoption: “She’s a 2-year-old girl who got shoved in a truck and driven to Oklahoma with strangers.” [Reuters, SaveVeronica.org]

…Overlawyered was getting a mention.

The great people at Liberty Fund have just launched a new website called Library of Law and Liberty that promises to be of much interest. Among its debut features: a substantial audio interview in which Richard Reinsch, editor of the site, asks me about my book Schools for Misrule and law schools’ role in reform movements since the Progressive Era. Outstanding legal scholars Michael Greve (AEI) and Mike Rappoport (University of San Diego) will be blogging for the site. Other front-page attractions include Michael Greve discussing his new book The Upside Down Constitution, my Cato colleague John Samples reviewing Eric Posner and Adrian Vermeule’s new book on executive power, Ilya Somin on federalism and individual freedom, and Philip Hamburger and commenters on judicial review.

You can listen to my audio interview on Schools for Misrule at this link.

January 9 roundup

by Walter Olson on January 9, 2012

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I’m pleased to announce that Overlawyered has been named by the American Bar Association as one of its “Blawg 100″ noteworthy legal blogs. It’s not our first appearance on the list, but it’s always gratifying when it happens.

And here’s the good part: you can vote for us. In particular, you can go to this page:

http://www.abajournal.com/blawg100

You’ll need to register (which only takes a few moments) and then vote for your favorite in each of a list of categories. (They put Overlawyered in the “Torts” category.)
ABABlawg100FiveVoteFor
The nominations include many of our favorite and most-linked blogs, including Lowering the Bar, Prof. Bainbridge, Volokh, Jon Hyman, Daniel Schwartz, Abnormal Use, Eric Turkewitz, and Russell Jackson, to name a few. A number of these are also in the “Torts” category which means you’ll need to resist the urge to vote for them and select Overlawyered instead. Please take a moment to vote now. Thanks in advance for your support!

September 2 roundup

by Walter Olson on September 2, 2011

  • Jury acquits ex-firefighter who claimed disability while competing as a bodybuilder [Boston Herald]
  • Authorities snatch kids from homes after parents busted with small amounts of pot [NYT, Tim Lynch/Cato]
  • “Case Study on Impact of Tort Reform in Mississippi” [Mark Behrens via Scheuerman/TortsProf]
  • When opt-in works: “More than 27,000 S. Korean users join class-action suit against Apple” [Yonhap]
  • Casino liable after customers leave kids unattended in cars? [Max Kennerly]
  • All is forgiven, says frequent investment plaintiff: “State Street Rehired by Calpers After Being Likened to ‘Thugs’” [Business Week]
  • Vintage comic book covers on law themes are a regular Friday feature at Abnormal Use.

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After being widely criticized for his handling of a criminal case, a lawyer is now suing his critics by the dozen, including a raft of leading law bloggers; the case is already being dubbed “Rakofsky v. Internet.” A list of the many defendants is here (PDF) courtesy of defendant Mark Bennett, who has also compiled a compendium of blog posts that discuss the new action. Among defendants and others talking back: Eric Turkewitz, Colin Samuels, Scott Greenfield, Avvo, Keith Lee.

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It’s not getting one-ten-thousandth the coverage of Mr. Tasini’s suit against the Huffington Post, perhaps because it’s not based on quite such an exotic set of legal theories. FindLaw pays staffers to write legal blogs and the suit charges that they were encouraged/allowed to work unpaid overtime. [ABA Journal] Eric B. Meyer has more (“Working through lunch may create overtime issues for employers”).

April 14 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 14, 2011

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March 3 roundup

by Walter Olson on March 3, 2011

  • EU imposes unisex insurance rates [BBC, Wright]
  • Law blog on the offense? TechnoLawyer asserts trademark claim against Lawyerist over “Small Law” [Lawyerist]
  • “Pro-business Supreme Court” meme strikes out yet again as SCOTUS backs “cat’s-paw” bias suit theory by 8-0-2 margin [Josh Blackman, Schwartz, Fox; Lithwick locus classicus]
  • Subprime CDO manager sues financial writer Michael Lewis over statements in his book The Big Short [AW, Salmon, Kennerly]
  • Police in Surrey, England, deny advising garden shed owners not to use wire mesh against burglars [Volokh, earlier]
  • Patterns of intimidation: protesters swarm Speaker Boehner’s private residence [Hollingsworth, Examiner] Unions fighting Wal-Mart in NYC plan actions at board members’ homes [Stoll] Report: GOP lawmakers in Wisconsin fear for personal safety [Nordlinger, NRO] White House pushing street protests [Welch, Nordlinger] Age of Civility short lived [Badger Blogger, Althouse, Sullivan]
  • In clash with trial lawyers, Cuomo proposes pain and suffering limits in med-mal suits [NYDN, more: NYT] “Bloomberg looks to Texas for ideas on changing medical malpractice laws” [City Hall News]
  • Hey, should we seize his drum set? Infuriating video on cop raids and forfeiture laws [Institute for Justice, Michigan]

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Several interesting reactions to my book already from around the blogosphere:

  • University of Illinois law professor Larry Ribstein (who commented at my speech there last week): “There was a good turnout and a lot of deserved buzz for this very interesting book. … The book deserves a lot of attention, particularly from law professors and their students as a source of critical perspective on trends in legal education. There is little doubt that the ideas Olson criticizes are hatched mainly in law schools rather than by practicing lawyers and judges, and have led to costly and questionable litigation.” And a response from Scott Greenfield, who says the book’s premise that law professors have great influence over the state of the law “warms the cockles of lawprofs’ hearts given that most of the legal profession considers their influence marginal at best.”
  • Ted Frank: “should be required reading for law students, and deserves a place on any Federalist Society member’s bookshelf.”
  • Alan Crede writes a lengthy and thoughtful review at Boston Personal Injury Lawyer Blog. He notes that on, e.g., the work of legal clinics, “the traditional taxonomy of liberal and conservative breaks down when you start to deal with many fine-grain legal issues.” And: “There are at least two law professors – Tim Wu and Elizabeth Warren (who is now in the Obama administration) – who possess rock star cachet in progressive circles” and can hardly be charged with any sort of airy unwillingness to engage with the demands of practical law reform. Crede generously concludes “whether you agree with Olson’s conclusions or not, there is a lot that you can learn from ‘Schools For Misrule.’”
  • Perhaps my favorite review so far (aside from the great one in Publisher’s Weekly) is from Ira Stoll at Future of Capitalism. It begins: “Of all the possible explanations for Barack Obama, one of the most intriguing is that, like Bill Clinton before him, he was both a law school graduate and a law school professor.” Stoll summarizes many of the book’s themes, particularly as regards “public interest”, human-rights and institutional-reform litigation, and includes this takeaway: “Any donor or foundation wanting to reshape legal education would find Mr. Olson’s book a fine place to begin.”

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February 28 roundup

by Walter Olson on February 28, 2011

  • Feds indict activist for handing out “jury nullification” tracts outside courthouse [Volokh, Greenfield] Anti-abortion billboard taken down after demand by NYC pol; co. says fear of violence was spur [NY Times]
  • Pigford class action (USDA bias against black farmers) defended and assailed [Friedersdorf and readers, Daniel Foster/NR, Mark Thompson/LOG, earlier here, here, here, etc.]
  • Avik Roy on Pennsylvania defensive-medicine study [Forbes]
  • Backstory: Scott Walker battled AFSCME for years as Milwaukee County exec [Aaron Rodriguez, Hispanic Conservative] “Wisconsin’s teachers required to teach kids labor union and collective bargaining history” [Daily Caller]
  • “The return of the $0 Costco fuel settlement” [CCAF]
  • Historic preservation vs. the obesity crusade: should a vintage Coke sign in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights neighborhood come down? [SFGate]
  • Law blog that covers a single beat closely can turn itself into a valued practice tool [Eric Turkewitz on John Hochfelder's New York Injury Cases]
  • “Soda suits: Banzhaf browbeats school officials” [five years ago on Overlawyered]

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January 4 roundup

by Walter Olson on January 4, 2011

  • Report: dead woman’s name robo-signed onto thousands of collection documents [Business Insider] Or was it? [comment, Fredrickson/Collections and Credit Risk (alleging that living daughter shares name of deceased mother)] “Are faked attorney signatures the ‘next huge issue’ in the foreclosure scandal?” [Renee Knake, Legal Ethics Forum]
  • “Major Verdict Threatens to Bankrupt Maker of Exercise Equipment” [Laura Simons, Abnormal Use]
  • Decline in competitiveness of U.S. capital markets owes much to legal and regulatory developments [Bainbridge, related]
  • Deadly Choices, The Panic Virus: Dr. Paul Offit and Seth Mnookin have new books out on vaccine controversy [Orac]
  • No one’s trying to get rich off this,” says lawyer planning suit on behalf of A train subway riders stranded during NYC blizzard [NY Daily News]
  • Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna continues to seek solutions to state’s uniquely exposed litigation position, including fix of joint and several liability [Seattle Times, background here and here]
  • ABA Blawg 100 picks — and a critique;
  • Alabama bar orders lawyer’s law license suspended, but in the mean time he’s been elected judge [four years ago on Overlawyered]

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It’s the subject of an amusing new blog entitled Law and the Multiverse, whose posts consider how the doings of superpower-endowed heroes and their super-villain adversaries might implicate (e.g.) the Second Amendment, the ADA, RICO, and insurance coverage law [via Lowering the Bar]

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November 24 roundup

by Walter Olson on November 24, 2010

  • Jack Park on Bruesewitz v. Wyeth vaccine preemption case at Supreme Court [Heritage]
  • Incidentally happening to assure lawyers more access to work: Harvard’s Tribe devises “access to justice” initiatives for Obama administration [BLT]
  • New Haven cops accidentally photograph themselves deleting video of an unlawful arrest [Balko]
  • How elite law culture miscomprehends the military [Second Circuit chief judge Dennis Jacobs speech at Federalist Society convention, YouTube]
  • “Later, Bad Lawyer”: a blogger heads to prison [Greenfield]
  • Reform medical liability? Depends on how badly you want neurosurgeons’ services [Michael Lavyne, NYDN]
  • “Cab-rank principle” in legal ethics explained [Lawyers' Lawyer, Australia; via Legal Ethics Forum]
  • $3.5 million award to unsuccessful suicide-while-in-custody is one of long series of such cases [six years ago on Overlawyered]